Open main menu

Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/396

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
352
THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

these unknown beasts roar. The prodigies of the forest are nothing compared to the inventions of their pride. Their vanity is full of phantoms which move as in a sublime night, armed with helm and cuirass, spurs on their heels and sceptres in their hands, saying in a grave voice, 'We are the ancestors!' Canker-worms eat the roots, and panoplies eat the people. Why not? Can we expect to change the laws? The peerage is part of the order of society. Do you know that there is a duke in Scotland who can ride ninety miles without leaving his own estate? Do you know that the Archbishop of Canterbury has a revenue of £40,000 a year? Do you know that her Majesty has £700,000 sterling from the civil list, besides castles, forests, domains, fiefs, tenancies, freeholds, prebendaries, tithes, rent, confiscations, and fines, which bring in over a million sterling? Those who are not satisfied are hard to please."

"Yes," murmured Gwynplaine, sadly; "the paradise of the rich is made out of the hell of the poor."